By Michelle Graff

I came across this great article on IDEX Online on Thursday by my colleague Edahn Golan in Israel attesting to an increase in rough-diamond demand ahead of De Beers’ upcoming sight.

The sight, scheduled for Nov. 2-6, is the ninth of the year and is usually a small sight, partly because the Diamond Trading Co. (DTC) sightholders buy what they need for the holiday rush prior to the first week of November. 

According to the article, however, this ninth sight is seeing a lot of sightholders submitting applications—requests to the DTC for extra rough—that will result in the sight totaling around $350 million, above the pre-determined allocation believed to be about $300 million.

This is great news for an industry where the DTC sights sunk as low as an estimated (by Rapaport Group) $129 million earlier this year, though still doesn’t represent a return to pre-crisis levels, when sights ranged between $600 million and $700 million.

What’s the source of this excess demand for rough?  

Rough courtesy De BeersMy first thought when I read this article was that sightholders must be feeling optimistic about the approaching holiday season in the United States and spending in November and December, even though an article I wrote just this week tells that shoppers are going to be hitting the malls earlier this year, either to spread out their spending or to make sure they get what they want before it’s out of stock.

In the article, though, Edahn presents another strong possibility: anticipated healthy demand in China for diamond gifts to mark the Chinese New Year, celebrated in February. He also mentions the fact that Indian banks are stepping up their lines of credit, lining the pockets of various industry players with cash that hasn’t been seen in months and fueling the pursuit of rough among buyers.

Perhaps more interesting than these theories, however, is what the article doesn’t say. Nowhere in the story does Edahn ever utter the words “United States” or “holiday season.”

This is further proof that many in the diamond industry have stopped worrying so much about the U.S. market—What’s happening there? When will demand return? When will debt-ridden consumers feel comfortable enough to start spending again?—and simply moved on to emerging markets such as China.
*Image courtesy of the De Beers Group

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